pre-kindergarten (3 year olds)

Saint Joseph’s Pre-Kindergarten provides an academically stimulating environment that honors individual learning styles and promotes emotional intelligence. In our classroom, we strive to encourage and model respect, integrity, independence, dignity, resourcefulness, responsibility and life-long learning.

Along with personal and social development, our Pre-Kindergarten students attend age-appropriate ‘Specials’ classes such as: Computer, Art, Music, Spanish, Library, Yoga, and Physical Education. These classes allow them to expand their ability to acquire information, problem solve, and communicate with others.

Pre-Kindergarten Half-Day Program

Additionally, Saint Joseph’s offers a part-time Pre-K option for parents. The part-time program is five (5) half-days designed to strike a balance between children’s developmental and emotional needs and the desire of some families who prefer a shorter school day. This program continues in keeping with our current Pre-K goal to nurture our students’ God-given gifts and talents. The program is Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. The morning schedule includes academics, Specials (music, library, sacred studies, art, physical education, etc.), and lunch.

COGNITIVE LEARNING

Cognitive learning pertains to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reason. This is a vital part of our daily curriculum and is exemplified by the following traits:

  • Recognizes and recalls letters & numbers out of sequence;
  • Recognizes first and last name;
  • Reproduces beginning sounds;
  • Recalls and recognizes some sight words;
  • Recalls details of a story;
  • Understands sequencing, patterning, and graphing;
  • Follows verbal instructions;
  • Works independently; and,
  • Completes work in time allotted.

FINE MOTOR DEVELOPMENT

Fine motor skills can be defined as small muscle movements which occur in the fingers, in coordination with the eyes. It is critical to understand the development of children’s fine motor skills in order to understand the reasoning behind why they complete tasks such as writing, drawing, and buttoning in a certain way. The pre-schooler becomes quite adept in self-help, construction, holding grips, and bi-manual control tasks requiring the use of both hands. Proficiency can be seen by the following:

  • Writes and colors beyond a simple scribble;
  • Controls pencil and crayon;
  • Reproduces first name in upper and lower case letters; and,
  • Works correctly with manipulatives and puzzles.

GROSS MOTOR DEVELOPMENT

Gross motor skills include activities like throwing, catching, jumping, climbing, balancing, lifting, pushing, and carrying. Examples include the following:

  • Can hop on one foot;
  • Can walk backwards;
  • Can skip; and,
  • Can walk one foot in front of the other on a line.

SOCIALIZATION SKILLS

Pre-Kindergarten children are sociable and becoming socialized. They spend as much time as they can with other children using language to facilitate and social interactions. Mastery of social skills includes:

  • Can take care of belongings;
  • Plays well with others;
  • Participates in group activities;
  • Cleans up after self;
  • Express self verbally;
  • Recognizes teachers as authority figures;
  • Uses good manners; and,
  • Makes proper use of free time.

EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Much of a pre-school child’s success depends on his/her emotional development. For many children, this is a first-time experience away from their parents. Signs a child is maturing emotionally:

  • Child can be taken away from parents;
  • Maintains self control;
  • Exhibits impulse control; and,
  • Works and has normal attention span.

LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT

SIGN LANGUAGE

Each teacher incorporates signing into every lesson. When colors are taught in Spanish, they are also taught in Sign Language. Each letter of the alphabet introduced is accompanied by the sign it represents. Good manners are encouraged when demonstrated in sign language – “please,” “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” “excuse me,” and “I’m sorry.” Classroom rules are extra easy and fun to follow by using the signs for “stop,” “go,” “walk,” “line up,” and “quiet.” All of the students enjoy signing “I love you.” Other things learned in Sign Language include:

  • Letters
  • Colors
  • Shapes
  • Animals
  • Greetings
  • Commands
  • Seasonal terms and words

SPANISH

Along with early introduction and integration to Spanish through repetition, the children learn through fun songs and reading of books in Spanish and English. Words taught in Spanish include:

  • Colors = Colores
  • Numbers = Numeros
  • Greetings = Saludos
  • Animals = Animales
  • Names = Nombres
  • Body Parts = Partes del cuerpo

LIBRARY

Storytelling and enjoyment of children’s literature are the primary focus in our Library. Students are invited to share their ideas. Book care is discussed, as well as basic library behavior. Various methods are used to reach the visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic learning styles, such as:

  • Puppets and Flannel Board Characters
  • Big Books
  • Stories Set to Music
  • Stories with Film Strips
  • Poems and Nursery Rhymes

ART

Art provides students with many ideas for creative activities that can be introduced to the children as fun, hands-on learning experiences. Each activity gives the class opportunities to work independently while improving certain skills that are vital to pre-school children’s development, including:

  • Working/Kneading Clay or Model Magic
  • Scissor Safety
  • Painting
  • Manipulatives

MUSIC

Students are introduced to concepts that most schools wait to teach until students are much older. It is within this school’s curriculum that the basics of reading music are introduced, extending to:

  • Counting Rhythms
  • Note Values
  • Note Identification
  • Choreography
  • Singing
  • Music Theory Concepts
  • Introduction to Instruments
  • Music Appreciation (Via Listening to Various Styles of Music)
  • Performing Etiquette
  • Performance Opportunities on Stage

PHYSICAL EDUCATION

Physical Education will teach the age-appropriate fundamentals of several sports: how to properly catch and throw a ball and how to catch and run with an irregular shaped ball as in a football, how to manipulate a ball with their feet as in soccer, and eye/hand coordination. Our students will learn to develop their athletic skills in a structured and fun environment. Activities include:

  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Stretching
  • Calisthenics
  • Bouncing/Dribbling a Ball
  • Throwing and Catching a Round Ball
  • Structured Play

SACRED STUDIES

The overarching theme of our Sacred Studies curriculum is love of God, self, and others. Teachings include:

  • Learn Jesus’ summary of the Law and that God is Love;
  • Learn that prayer is talking and listening to God;
  • Exploration of various Bible stories;
  • Peace Education with I-Care Cat (puppet) and friends; and,
  • Practice service to others.

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